Eddie George began focusing on health and fitness during his spectacular college and pro football career, one that saw him win the 1995 Heisman Trophy and earn four appearances in the Pro Bowl. That emphasis has continued during his post-football life, as George currently heads two businesses devoted to promoting health in both personal and community life, EGX Lifestyle and Edge, a planning and design firm.
George's passion for the issue is why he's part of the lineup for Sunday's first annual TEDx Nashville event, Art + Science: The Future of Health. Several distinguished community leaders will be appearing in this public lecture and discussion series, a Music City incarnation of an event that originally began in California during the '80s as a forum on technology, education and design (TED). Sunday's event begins at 1 p.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy, 4001 Harding Road.
George will join a diverse and distinguished roster that includes singers Big Kenny and Jill Sobule, Vanderbilt University ethnomusicologist Greg Barz, Tennessee State University President Dr. Melvin Johnson, performance poet and mental-health professional Minton Sparks, activist/filmmaker Molly Secours, and Dr. Maureen Gannon, an authority on diabetes research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Like them, George plans to share his ideas and views on various topics related to health.
"My interest in health really dates back to when I was playing football, but it really became a passion for me as I started to think about what would be the next step in my life," George says. "I've discovered through my involvement in this area that there's a definite connection between healthy lifestyles, nutrition and success in life. What you eat, how you treat your body, whether you're getting proper rest and your mindset are all very important determinants for everything else that you do."
George adds that proper health is not just a question of exercise and diet, although both of those are very important.
"We've found that equal attention also needs to be paid to the internal aspects of life, your mental outlook and your self-esteem," George says. "One of the things that we've seen when it comes to obesity, which is a major health problem both in this state and across the country, is that in many instances people try to escape their problems by overeating. In other instances they try drugs or alcohol or sex, but whatever they're trying it has a negative impact on their health."
For that reason, George says, he plans to stress how health and lifestyle are directly connected.
"We're trying to show how improving your mental outlook and your physical health are also connected to your lifestyle, what you choose to do with your time, where you go and what activities you get involved with regularly," George says. "Exercise should be a part of your daily routine, and watching what you eat ties into things like having more energy and more passion for whatever you choose to do as a career.
"A healthy lifestyle is also something that should concern all of us, no matter your age or background, and I've found that interest in the issue can bring people together regardless of their circumstances."
The event's website at www.tedxnashville.com says tickets have sold out, but those who can't get in are invited to watch a live video feed online. For more information, call 321-3211.